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A Prayer for My Daughter at the Young Vic

Elizabeth Peasley

The Young Vic is a captivating 'in the round' setting for this gripping drama.

A Prayer for My Daughter at the Young Vic
ralphrapley/XMO4

On the surface we seem to be in the middle of an anxiety ridden crime thriller in '70s New York. The audience literally lines the walls of the police station where aggressive verbal interrogation is about to start.

We soon realise that there is far more at stake than pinning down which of the two suspects Jimmy (Colin Morgan) or Sean (Sean Chapman) is a murderer. At the same time Kelly (Matthew Marsh) the older of the two detectives is cajoling then shouting down the phone to his daughter who is threatening suicide.

Both murder suspects, despite their ongoing intimidation and ordeal of arrest are drawn into Kelly's off stage domestic dilemma as is his fellow officer, Jack (Corey Johnson). These four strong personalities battle it out in an evening that takes you over completely with the refrain of 'you are my sunshine...' regularly coming through in the voice of Sean.

The deep authenticity of this play comes from Thomas Babe's script and the impressive portrayal of character by all four actors.

All the men have daughters and significant revelations appear throughout the evening. Sean, returned from Vietnam tells movingly of his own 'angel ' experience as he cradled the head of a fatally wounded comrade

All are caught in an emotional bond. In the words of Kelly: "I don't want anything from her ... my unloseable friend."

A Prayer for My Daughter is a reference to a Yeats' poem of the same title. As a parent it is impossible to know the details of what to want or wish for a child/daughter. To be there for them is enough.

Do go and see this play if you like riveting and challenging drama of the highest order.

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